How to tell if a Google Chrome extension is safe

Chrome extensions are very useful, but you have to be careful what you install on your device. Here’s how to know if a particular extension is safe.

Extensions Chromium are very useful. They can help you write flawlessly, get rid of ads, save you money when shopping, and more. However, like Android apps on the Play Store, extensions on the Chrome Web Store aren’t always what they seem. Malware is to be feared, and you wouldn’t want to compromise your device security and privacy by installing an ad blocker.

Google is aware that the quality and security of Chrome extensions are not consistent. It is for this reason that the American giant has set up a system for identifying and verifying extensions and creators. If you’re looking for extensions, you might see two new badges, both of which offer interesting information about the extension and/or its developer.

Badge Selection

The “Selection” badge appears in blue with the dedicated icon on certain extensions. According to Google, the company awards this badge to extensions that “follow our technical best practices and deliver a high level of user experience and design.” What’s interesting about this badge is that it’s a sign that the extension has been reviewed by members of the Chrome team. It is not any algorithm that attributes this distinction.

The members responsible for this mission rate the quality of the extension’s overview page, whether it works well for those who have downloaded it, whether it uses the latest versions of the Chrome APIs and, perhaps most importantly , if it respects the privacy of users. Although Google doesn’t have the best reputation in this segment, it’s good to see that the company is careful that extensions don’t steal your data.

Publisher’s Good History Badge

When Google finds that a publisher has been following the giant’s guidelines for some time and their identity has been verified, the Mountain View firm awards them the publisher’s good history badge. This appears as a small checkmark next to the publisher’s site. This badge is another good way to trust the extension, since it means that Google knows who the publisher is. If the latter tries anything dishonest, the account will be deleted.

What else can you do to make sure a Chrome extension is safe?

Even with these two badges, you should still proceed with caution:

  • Read the full description to know exactly what you are going to install and what it is supposed to do.
  • Study the requested permissions by extension. If you feel that there is no reason for such an extension to access your camera, for example, this is a red flag.
  • Analyze the developer’s site, which is always listed on the extension’s page in the store. If you feel like something is wrong or if the site doesn’t seem to match the plugin, trust yourself and move on.
  • Read reviews. If other users had a bad experience with an extension, chances are they’ll complain about it in the comments. If the majority of comments are old and you can’t find recent ones, forget about this extension. Also make sure that the extensions you install are updated, this reduces the risk of them being corrupted.

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